Reviews by Carol T. (Ankeny, IA)

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The American Agent: A Maisie Dobbs Novel
by Jacqueline Winspear
Best of the series (4/10/2019)
I admit, some of Winspear's early Maisie Dobbs entries were too "preachy" and not enough action. But at 15, she definitely has this one right.
Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen
by Mary Norris
And ode to language lovers (4/10/2019)
I've always loved Mary Norris' writing. She makes all things understandable. Nearly a 5 star, but I wasn't as enamored of all the travels as I was of the language sections.
A Deadly Divide: A Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak Mystery
by Ausma Zehanat Khan
Could happen anywhere (4/4/2019)
Timely. This mosque massacre really could have come from today's news. I just hope when the Nazis attack my town my officials handle it as well.
D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II
by Sarah Rose
Suprising women (3/25/2019)
Concise, easy to read history of the women spies in WWII France. Excellent notes and bibliography. For the most part, I was able to keep the women straight - no small feat when there were many. I'd have liked to know more about each of them, but that would have taken a MUCH longer book, making it harder to read. Rose did not "pad" for length as so many non-fictions writers seem to do, repeating themselves ad nauseam, making this an easy-to-finish book, too.
We Must Be Brave
by Frances Liardet
Excellent Debut (3/16/2019)
Exactly the right twists and turns; lovely language. A keeper in the WWII home front genre. Also a super debut. Looking forward to more from Frances.
The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming
by David Wallace-Wells
Almost a novel (3/15/2019)
If you weren't afraid of climate change before you read this, you definitely will be afterward. Note Wallace-Wells' ability to use word choice, sentence structure, and pacing to pull you in and keep you hooked.
The Last Year of the War
by Susan Meissner
Superb (2/13/2019)
I couldn't put it down! An excellent rendering of a little known fact - German-American internment. Elise and Mariko are so real that they could live next door. I'm off to learn more. Thanks to Berkley and Read It Forward for the ARC.
My Lovely Wife
by Samantha Downing
Drew me in (10/12/2018)
My Lovely Wife started slowly. In fact, I found the first third quiet slow and fairly predictable, but then it drew me in and I raced to the end. Rainy day read.
Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History
by Keith O'Brien
Fly away, girls... (6/2/2018)
This "good" book could have been excellent. Unfortunately, O'Brien is of the "just the facts, ma'am" school and failed to make any of the women come to life. While they, and most of the people who knew them, are long gone, surely someone's diary captured the real women who gave up so much just to fly.
The Heart's Invisible Furies: A Novel
by John Boyne
So so (6/17/2017)
This was OK. If you like John Irving, it might be down your alley.
My Last Lament
by James William Brown
Like listening to a story (3/20/2017)
I know my review title seems a little silly since this is a novel, which makes it, by definition, a story. However, it is so well-written that I felt like I was listening to Aliki (the lamenter) tell her story - she drew me in and I didn't want to put it down.
The Typewriter's Tale
by Michiel Heyns
Very.... Jamesian.. (1/1/2017)
If you are fond of Henry James, you'll find The Typewriter's Tale to be just the ticket; full of long, delicious, delectable sentences, themselves filled with admirable adjectives, fulsome feelings, and sensitive sensibilities. A good weekend's read.
Mercies in Disguise: A Story of Hope, a Family's Genetic Destiny, and the Science That Rescued Them
by Gina Kolata
Mercies and opportunities (10/30/2016)
Well-written, informative, well-developed characters. I found myself sad to see the book end. I will look for more books by Kolata.
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk
by Kathleen Rooney
Walk thru a life (9/24/2016)
Lillian's New Year's Eve stroll thru Manhattan is really a stroll thru her life, the good and the bad, from her relationships with her mother, husband, son, and best friend, to how women were treated in the workplace. I was surprised that in 1935 she was able to keep working when she married. Very often women weren't able to in that era. Having to leave when she was obviously "with child" rings true for another 40 years. Excellent story telling.
North of Crazy: A Memoir
by Neltje
Excellent writer (5/29/2016)
Neltje is an excellent writer. I wish she'd spent more time on her life in Wyoming and less on her unfortunate childhood, but if you enjoy reading superior writing, this is it.
The Dark Lady's Mask
by Mary Sharratt
Dark Lady (2/7/2016)
An excellent book for those who enjoy strong renaissance women.
The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins
by Antonia Hodgson
Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins (12/22/2015)
While I found this slow going, I think a book club might enjoy the discussions that could come of it.
Fallen Land
by Taylor Brown
Fallen Land (11/1/2015)
While I found the motivations in Fallen Land to be a bit thin, perhaps that is the way of a war torn country. It is a quick read and a good choice for book clubs that want to discuss character, not plot.
Lamp Black, Wolf Grey
by Paula Brackston
Lamp Black, Wolf Grey (7/3/2015)
An easy read. If you like Brackston's other books, you'll like this one. A few key characters aren't as well developed as I'd have liked and at least one major problem was solved by a character I didn't realize could solve it, but this book has possibilities.
What Doesn't Kill Her: A Reeve LeClaire Series Novel
by Carla Norton
Good read (4/25/2015)
A little slow at the beginning, and I had trouble believing a girl who was kidnapped and tortured for 4 years miraculously recovered enough to search for her own torturer, and the torturer was very 1-dimensional thru the entire book. However, as the book went on the protagonists became more 3-dimensional and more interesting. An easy read for a rainy afternoon.
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